Peter Southern used to operate his auto locksmith business First Auto Locksmiths from home from 1998. Gradually that morphed into a much more significant business in the supply of locksmith tools and since 2007 that business has been known as Lockdecoders.
After 2011 the locksmithing business was finally ended and the sole operation was in research and development of specialised tools and machines. During this period the company developed the MiraClone and in collaboration with Red Technology of South Korea the range of key cutting machines now familiar to many hundreds of locksmiths – the Miracle range. Along the way the company started also to market the Magic series of engravers, SuperVag – the solution to lost VAG keys and most recently the SuperMerc range which fills that same function for Mercedes electronic keys.
So, the business filled and overfilled a fairly large house and it become imperative to find a new HQ. The unit had to accommodate 3 large offices, a good-sized storeroom, a demonstration area and a training centre. We wanted it to be in walking distance of the mainline rail station and with easy access from the M25 and M20 motorways. That eliminated most of the premises offered. After a one year search the company acquired a long lease on a unit on the Park Road Industrial Sites in Swanley – Unit 14.
Within a few days of moving in, the company constructed its first training seminar, on the SuperMerc with Neal Southern as the instructor.
Lockdecoders is now also able to begin a full marketing and technical backup on the Magic range of engravers which it has been mainly selling through its international distributor network in quite some quantity but space and personnel prevented a total product launch in the UK. There is synergy for these machines with our large existing customer base as the machines offer really fantastic possibilities for shop locksmiths, mobile locksmiths and shoe bars. For the first time the company was represented at the January Trophex exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham. Of course, for some years Lockdecoders has been ever-present at locksmith shows here and overseas. Countries where the firm has been represented at exhibitions include the USA, Australia, Thailand, France, the Czech Republic, South Africa, Israel, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Poland.
The firm already exports to over 40 countries but has its eyes on several other major markets.
This article originally appeared in the print edition of Locks and Security Magazine